Microsoft pulls support for Android-based Office apps for Chromebook users
Software giant Microsoft is reportedly planning to end support for the Android-based apps that Chrome OS users rely on for editing documents on their Chromebooks. After September 18, Chromebooks using the Android versions of the Office suite, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive will have to use the corresponding web versions to access the services and associated files on Microsoft's cloud. Here are more details.
Microsoft says Android-based Office apps 'are not currently supported'
A Microsoft support page was spotted detailing how Chromebook users can access Office apps. It states you can't install the Windows or Mac desktop versions of Microsoft 365 or Office 2016 on a Chromebook. The page highlights that Android versions of Office apps "are not currently supported on a Chromebook." Microsoft's move is reportedly an attempt to provide Chrome OS users an "optimized experience."
Speaking to About Chromebooks, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "This transition brings Chrome OS/Chromebook customers access to additional and premium features." Yes, the Office apps accessible online, known as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), are fully featured and scale dynamically as normal websites do. This reduces previously clunky interactions with Android apps that usually didn't scale well on large Chromebook displays.
Is Microsoft attracting Chromebook users towards Windows 11?
However, like every other PWA, Microsoft's change forces users to remain connected to the internet to use the PWAs' features. This seems counterintuitive since the grand idea behind the cloud-based Chrome OS is to let users work on documents sans an internet connection. The move could be Microsoft's attempt to lure Chromebook users to Windows 11 that sports near-native support for Android apps.
Linux-based open-source LibreOffice offers experience just like Office suite
Microsoft's move has left us confused. If users migrate from Chrome OS to Windows 11 to enjoy the familiarity of Android apps, they would rather use Office 2016 and the Microsoft 365 apps that are supported on Windows natively. That said, LibreOffice's Linux version is an open-source Office suite alternative that can be installed on Chromebooks if you aren't afraid to make the switch.